That said, China is also stressing the idea that, as long as Tsai can propose an acceptable alternative to the “1992 consensus,” there is still room for negotiation.
Therefore, the New York-based committee recommended protecting Taiwan’s democracy to reassure Taipei and support efforts to increase its participation in the international community, but without putting it at risk of coming under more pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Both sides of the Taiwan Strait should construct a temporary framework in which they can coexist. That would allow the “status quo” to be maintained.
The committee is a nonprofit think tank, affiliated to neither the US’ Republican or Democratic parties. Its observations will presumably make interesting reading for the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party, and show them how different the US position is from what they suppose.
The big questions are: Will Trump challenge the CCP’s sovereignty after he takes office? Does Trump want to rile the CCP in the hopes it will strengthen his hand? If the CCP does give in, to what extent will Taiwan be betrayed? If this means Beijing does try to take Taiwan by force, will the US just sit back and let it happen?
If the CCP decides not to play ball, will Taiwan get the chance to move toward legal independence over the next four to eight years?
Taiwan should take this time to ask China to implement a multiparty political system and democratic direct elections. While Trump’s intentions are unknown at the moment, whether the two sides of the Taiwan Strait merge or go their separate ways all depends on whether China democratizes.
Albert Shihyi Chiu is an associate professor at Tunghai University’s Department of Political Science.
Translated by Lin Lee-kai